Feb. 27, 2013
As regular readers of my reviews undoubtedly have discovered, I very seldom review older material. However, saxophonist Vandell Andrew released a project in mid-2011 that impressed me enough to share here. The release, Years Later (appropriately titled), packs a nice measure of really smooth and laid-back jazz.
Andrew pours out a dose of hearty soul and throaty jazz throughout this album, from the catchy upbeat lead track “After the Storm” onward through the silky “Could This Be” and “Feelin’ It” and melody-rich tunes like “At Midnight,” “A Letter to My Unborn” (what a moving title) and “Affliction.”
The balance between the more poignant pieces and the snappier ones is well defined. It is obvious that he deliberately thought through that balance.
Helped out here by only one other, Josh Goode (keys, guitar, drum programming), the New Orleans native (who also plays keys and provides drum programming) proves to be quite competent.
I believe that Andrew’s musical story of a journey through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to his relocation to Texas to continue his pursuit of the music he loves was as much a driving factor in my decision to review this project as the catchy melodies.
I have my favorites here, but you can probably find something appealing in each of these tracks.
When one has the drive and determination to add to his or her knack for making good music, it’s hard not to look ahead and see success looming on the horizon. Andrew may well have drawn a bead on that vision. Here’s hoping his future projects reflect that as well. – Ronald Jackson